Dharma noise: parergonality in Zen Buddhism and non-idiomatic improvisation
Schnee, Daniel Paul
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The objective of this dissertation is to explore philosophical and practical approaches to the study of improvisation in relation to Japanese Zen Buddhist doctrine and aesthetics. It specifically asks whether free form (non-idiomatic) improvisation can be practiced, and Zen Buddhism's efficacy in establishing a structured regimen for technical study on a musical instrument. In order to complete this research objective, the historical development of Zen Buddhist doctrine and aesthetics is investigated and shown to be a non-unified rubric. Using the concept of the parergon, it is then demonstrated that practicing is an appropriate activity for improvisation when supplemented by the kata forms of Zen-influenced Japanese arts. The result of such supplementation in .this case takes the form of a series of original chromatic exercises developed as a paradigm that itself acts as a supplement to improvisation. The establishment of such a regimen also suggests further research into the topic of pedagogy and Shintoism as an aesthetic or theological supplement, as well as gender issues in creative performance.